Foreign Policy Blogs

China, The Olympics, and Religion

There have been two interesting news stories related to China's "religion policies' in the weeks leading up the Olympics. One development concerns Sino-French relations, and the Chinese Ambassador to France's warning that "there would be serious consequences" for their relations if President Sarkozy meets the Dalai Lama. Apparently, just meeting the Dalai Lama is an act of interfering in China's internal affairs. The Dalai Lama will visit France for a conference on Buddhism , after the start of the Olympics. Specifically, from August 16 to August 20, the Dalai Lama will be teaching in Nantes. As the New York Times summarizes the situation, "China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama and his subordinates of instigating anti-Chinese riots in Tibet three months ago and encouraging a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which the Dalai Lama has denied." On Thursday, though, Sarkozy said that would take no heed of China's concerns, and that it was not China's decision to make whether he meets the Dalai Lama. Despite this harsh response, Sarkozy still confirmed that he will go to the opening ceremony of the Games. A second news story concerns whether and how China will permit Bibles during the Olympics. China Daily has reported that tens of thousands of Bibles and New Testaments have been printed to be available at the Games. However, if you did a websearch on the issue, all you would find are news reports from Christian groups exclaiming the atrocity that China plans to deny athletes and visitors their rights to bring Bibles. The fascinating part of the China Daily news report concerns the fact that the Bibles will have the logo of the Beijing Olympics printed on their covers.

Olympics Bible

(picture from China Daily)



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;


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